Iwan Thomas: I hope my record gets broken sooner rather than later

From left, Tim Fletcher, School Games organiser for Heysham, Stuart Glover, Sports Development and Facilities Manager at Lancaster City Council, Iwan Thomas, Steven Jamieson, School Games organiser for Lancaster and Simon Kirby, Sport and Leisure Manager at Lancaster City Council.
From left, Tim Fletcher, School Games organiser for Heysham, Stuart Glover, Sports Development and Facilities Manager at Lancaster City Council, Iwan Thomas, Steven Jamieson, School Games organiser for Lancaster and Simon Kirby, Sport and Leisure Manager at Lancaster City Council.

Olympic silver medalist Iwan Thomas hopes his British 400m record will be broken sooner rather than later.

The 41-year-old’s time of 44.36 set in July 1997 still stands.

But as the star attraction at the Lancaster and Heysham School Sports Network’s Primary Schools Sports Conference at Salt Ayre Thomas admitted that as a fan of the sport he wanted to see the time bettered.

The former European and Commonwealth champion said: “I’ve still got the British record and I’m very proud of that.

“Half of me is delighted but as a lover of my sport I want it to progress and I want someone to come along and beat it.

“There’s a few athletes out there, Matt Hudson-Smith and Martyn Rooney last year ran very fast.

“Hopefully this year they can push each other and maybe break my record.”

As part of the conference, which mixed networking, guest speakers and workshops, Thomas talked to primary sports teachers about his career before answering questions on a variety of topics.

After hitting in top form in 1997 to set his record Thomas won European, Commonwealth and World Cup gold in 1998 only for injuries to blight the rest of his career.

The Welshman told The Visitor: “I think I would have run faster but my body and the nature of the 400 metres meant I got to the stage where I started to get a few injuries.

“Towards the end of my career I could only train three or four days a week and that’s just not enough at the highest level.

“I had to kind of call it a day.

“It was very upsetting at the time and even for years after that something I loved doing was taken away from me because my body couldn’t handle it.”

At a conference aimed at helping teachers give youngsters the best sporting start in life Thomas told how he fell into his chosen discipline.

He took on all sports and even had a promising BMX career before hitting his stride round a lap of the track.

Thomas said: “It sounds a bit like a cliché but I think the 400 metres found me.

“I did everything at school, I played county football, cross country, rugby. You name it, I did it.

“I didn’t do athletics until I was 16 or 17 and specifically the 400 metres until sixth form at school.

“Sport was always going to be a big part of my life but a never thought it was going to be how I made a living.

“I still feel very fortunate because it’s something I loved and something I’d do for nothing.”

Since retirement Thomas has taken to life as a TV personality like a duck to water.

He said: “Sport’s given me a great way of life and some times I get quite emotional when I play clips from my career.

“It’s nice to look back and some times I talk about my career and it seems like yesterday and others it seems a lifetime ago.

“I’m busy with One Show and other bits and pieces now and I’m very fortunate to have gone into another walk of life.

“I’ll never forget my background but it’s quite nice now to do other way things away from sport.”

Thomas was the second big name to grace the conference organised by Lancaster and Heysham School Games Organisers Steven Jamieson and Tim Fletcher after appearances from Premier League referees Howard Webb and Jon Moss in 2014.